Book Review – ‘The King Within’

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 26 Jul 2017
Book length: 224
ISBN-10: 9352645855
ISBN-13: 978-9352645855

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373 AD. In the thick forests of Malwa, an enigmatic stranger gallops into an ambush attack by bandits to rescue a young courtesan, Darshini. His name is Deva and he is the younger son of Emperor Samudragupta. That chance encounter, first with Deva and later with his two friends, the loyal general Saba Virasena and the great poet Kalidas, forges a bond that lasts a lifetime. From a dispossessed prince, Deva goes on to become one of the greatest monarchs in ancient India, Chandragupta Vikramaditya. But the search for glory comes with a blood price. As Chandragupta the emperor sets aside Deva the brother, lover and friend, to build a glorious destiny for himself, his companions go from being his biggest champions to his harshest critics. A sabre-rattling tale of love, revenge, friendship and ambition, The King Within is about the often-difficult choice between the power of passion and the passion for power.


With power comes great responsibility. Greatest power lies in not wielding it but in understanding how to use it. Power may enable a man supreme authority but at the same time may render him utterly helpless.

‘The King Within’ is the story of Chandragupta’s rise to power, his helplessness against the will of destiny and the remorse he felt while turning against his own kin. It’s the story of love, friendship, betrayal and how power can render even the most supreme man weak in his knees.

The book is divided into two sections namely, Power of passion and Passion for power. These two sections traces he journey of Chandragupta’s conquest to dethrones his brother, Ramagupta, the crown prince to the time where he takes over the reins of the coveted Gupta dynasty.

The characters were inspired from prominent historic figures from 373 AD. The author has depicted them in a different light. Even though there were many of them, but one could easily recall their names owing to the flawless characterisation.The dialogues were impactful elucidating the emotions felt by the characters. Special mention goes to the women characters. There is Dhruvaswamini, the chief consort of Chandragupta who tries to deprive Darshini, the courtesan, of her husband’s friendship and company. Dhruva, not entirely selfless, her motherly love is evident towards all her husband’s children from different women.  Darshini loves Chandragupta deeply, but is forced to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of her illegitimate child.  Both these women endowed with endurance and strength will definitely charm you.

The treatment rendered to Chandragupta’s character was perfect in every sense. He was not depicted to be a person without flaws. Along with his bravery and intellect, his vulnerabilities were highlighted too.

The names of the places and kingdoms were backed by thorough research. There was also glimpses of  Kalidasa’s poetic translations that will definitely prove to be a treat to the poetry lovers.

I loved the way the fight scenes were written. The words beautifully articulated each move, almost bringing the scene to life.

The only flaw I found in this book are:

  • There were no clear indication of timeline and if there was, in afew places, the pace didn’t quite justify it.

‘The King Within’ offers insights on the glorious reign of the Gupta’s and has its own share of thrills. This book will definitely be a prized possession for History lovers.

You can click on the image to buy the book:


9 thoughts on “Book Review – ‘The King Within’

  1. terriluvsbooks says:

    I’m new to your blog. I found out about it through Gayathri @ Elgee Writes. This book looks very interesting. I like the idea of reimagining history and/or mythology. In school, I was always taught there is only one way to look at everything. It’s nice to see more freedom to look at different angles.


  2. Anna @ The Bibliotaph says:

    This sounds kind of interesting, but if you’re spinning it as a good book for history lovers, does that mean it’s a bit dry and long? I’ve found that so many history-based fiction books are far more factual than emotionally engaging.
    Also, this cover is beautiful and definitely what made me interested in reading more about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fanna says:

    This seems to be an interesting read especially with the Indian history that it highlights. I guess abrupt endings aren’t my cup of tea but reading your review suggests this can be pretty good for a story about power and passion, so might give this a try. Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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